NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The day after signing with Tennessee, longtime backup QB
Whitehurst hasn’t had many opportunities to play in the regular season because he’s backed up Philip Rivers in San Diego for six of his eight pro seasons (2006-09, 2012-13), but he said he’s prepared as a starter and always worked to help his teams improve. Whitehurst also spent two seasons (2010-11) in Seattle, and on Thursday signed a multi-year agreement with Tennessee.
“There’s only 32 starting jobs in the NFL and obviously everyone that plays the game plays to be a starter in every one of those spots,” Whitehurst said during a radio interview with Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone. “I think the qualities of a backup quarterback are those of a starting quarterback. If you prepare as hard as you can, you can help everyone that’s in the room, starter, backup whoever it may be, and you work on your team and you try to make your team better. My career has kind of gone that way thus far and if it continues, fine, but you just come to work every day you do the best you can you work as hard as you can and you see what happens.”
The Titans announced Friday that they had waived Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started nine of the 11 games he played in 2013 when injuries sidelined Locker, who is rehabbing a Lisfranc injury he suffered on Nov. 10 that cost him the rest of his third pro season and second as a starter.
Whitehurst said he enjoyed working with Whisenhunt, who was San Diego’s offensive coordinator in 2013, and Michael, who coached Chargers tight ends and is looking forward to doing so again with the Titans.
“I think it was pretty incredible, what we did in San Diego last year,” Whitehurst said. “Philip took the new system and ran with it, was a Pro Bowl quarterback with it. I think that’s a tribute to him as a player but also the system. I think what we did with the no-huddle can be incorporated. We’re going to run the football and have high-percentage passing and we’re going to take some shots when we get a chance, when the defense gives it to us, but it’s kind of a ‘defense dictates what we want to do.’ It’s a take-what-you-get type of offense, and with Jason Michael coming over from San Diego, working with the system for a year and (Whisenhunt), I really think the sky’s the limit.”
Whisenhunt said Whitehurst made a good impression on him and the former All-ACC Clemson QB’s familiarity with the offense will be helpful.
“He will be a great resource for Jake and the entire offense; and as a player, he understands what we want to get done,” Whisenhunt said. “Working with him over the last year and seeing how he works and his ability gives me confidence that he is the right fit to fill this role.”
Whitehurst told the radio station he thinks he made the good impression on the coaches by going to work every day.
“It seemed like we started in early April with the new coach,” Whitehurst recalled. “We were in there learning the offense, two mini-camps, the OTAs, training camp and four preseason games, so I was involved just as much as Philip was up until that point, and then when the regular season starts, you run the scout team, you get a few reps of the offensive practice every day and you work as hard as you can. It’s kind of funny in this business. You are working for people, the coach is your boss, but you’re working together. You’re in the meeting room every day and figuring things out together. I think that’s the role of the backup, to voice his opinion about certain aspects of the offense when you think it’s appropriate and that’s what I did, and obviously I think I can help them with the new offense this year. I’m just happy to be here.”